A Modern Spa Retreat in Norway by

Issue 52 · Greatest Hits of 2014 · January 1, 2015

A Modern Spa Retreat in Norway

Issue 52 · Greatest Hits of 2014 · January 1, 2015

Here's a novel concept: an übermodern Scandi hotel whose proprietors are so fixated on reconnecting guests with nature that they lament having to charge a fee. (But, yes, you still have to pay for it.)

Located in a forest outside of Alesund, Norway, the Juvet Landscape Hotel is sited on a gorge of the river Valldøla. (Juvet means "gorge" in Norwegian.) Owner Knut Slinning is a local, and his earnest desire to help people experience the natural beauty of his region is admirable: “I would love our guests to have a feeling that this is a fantastic place, that they had been visiting friends, and that they had a very, very nice time. And that I am sorry that they had to pay for it.”

Slinning commissioned Oslo architects Jensen & Skodvin to design seven small cabins, each with at least one entire wall made of glass. The results are minimal cubes of wood and concrete whose interiors are dark and truly spare; the structures are designed to focus guests solely on the outdoors while inside. Each cabin's massive glass wall frames a view of the forest and river gorge, unobstructed by so much as a curtain.

One interesting note: The hotel's design was aided in part by a Norwegian public works project investing in rural infrastructure. The project had a rule that developments were barred from copying ancestral Norwegian architecture, with the aim of demonstrating ingenuity in engineering and design as a hallmark of modern Norway.

For booking information, visit Juvet Landscape Hotel.

Minimalist wood and glass architecture hotel in Norway in forest in winter

Above: With the ethic of being a guest in nature, the hotel's cabins are built on stilts; when they've finished living their useful lives, they can easily be removed.

Modern minimalist wood architecture in hotel in Norway in winter forest

Above: A porthole window in one of the cabin bathrooms offers its own unique view. The hotel spa sits so close to the gorge that guests are meant to "feel" the spray from the river during treatments.

Modern minimalist red and concrete glass box with view of snow in Norway

Above: All view rooms, such as the hotel sauna, are intended to give the impression of being inside a camera.

Modern minimalist concrete bathroom with blue color accent in Norway

Above: Occasional walls of bold color break concrete monotony in the spa. There are no curtains in the stark bedrooms and the natural light is bright in summer months. The hotel owners considered adding drapes, but guests urged them not to, saying that waking in the cabins is like waking outdoors.

Yellow concrete and wood modern minimalist bathroom in hotel in Norway

Above: Bathrooms are among the few rooms with color. The cabins were first planned without bathrooms or showers to emphasize simplicity in nature, but in the end a few modern comforts were added.

Modern minimalist glass architecture floor to ceiling glass in hotel in Norway with winter views

Above: Walking into a cabin is meant to be a dramatic experience, as if nature is rushing in through the massive panoramic windows to greet you.

Juvet Landscape Hotel in Winter in Snow Cabins in Norway Modern Minimalist

Above: The hotel owners didn't want the architecture to stand in the way of guests' experience of nature; they in fact want guests to realize that life in Norway has been a struggle for survival.

Keep planning your Norwegian stay: 

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